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North Melbourne Kangaroos, Alastair Clarkson, Essendon Bombers, GWS Giants, coach, job, family, decision, hostage, Kevin Sheedy, Tasmania

New North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson said they could not take Essendon’s offer seriously, fearing an extension would “hold the game hostage”.

Clarkson said he needed at least until September to do “due diligence” on the Bombers, but ultimately decided he didn’t want to leave anyone behind.

“I spoke briefly with the new Bombers president, Dave Barman. For me, this whole process was a process of three, four, five, six weeks to do my due diligence on them, but for me to see if we fit in at the club and with each other. Sofa.

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For the Bombers, as exciting as they were to express their interest, it was really a four-day process – two of which I was in Adelaide and I didn’t even actually get to talk to Essendon.

“It was quite a rush. The timing wasn’t right and I was a long way off with GWS and North Melbourne to be fair.

Clarkson explained why GWS was left out of the selection, saying the family connection was crucial to the decision.

“At the time[to move to Sydney]it didn’t suit our family,” he said.

“We’ve got a daughter in Brisbane and a son in the Northern Territory next year.

“If we’re in Sydney and our other daughter is going to be in Melbourne, it’s like… where are all our children’s homes?

“It just didn’t fit.

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“I was very impressed with (the GWS panel) Tony Shepherd, Dave Matthews, Jimmy Bartel and Jason McCartney. They have some real optimism about how they can do it against the Giants.

“Both (North and GSS) were very honest with me and my manager and I that GWS didn’t suit us for family reasons.

“At that point it will be north until he gets a phone call from Essendon.”

Clarkson admits he wants to hear the club’s pitch despite the 11th-hour bid.

“They are a big club, a proud club,” he said.

When Sheds took over that club in the late 70’s early 80’s and Roger Merrett and Glenn Hawker were my hometown, when I was really into football, Essendon wowee!

“It was like, let’s put some thought into this.

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But if we realize that it’s too rushed, and something that I’m not comfortable with, the whole process is that you’re held hostage by the game. It’s just in the media.

“There are a lot of people in the industry who rely on decisions to be made quickly.

“I was involved in the GWS and North Melbourne processes for four weeks.

“To do my due diligence and they’d extend it by me at Essendon for maybe another two weeks. And it’s like… I can’t get over it.

Clarkson laughed when asked what he thought of Bombers great Kevin Sheedy’s suggestion that a move to North Melbourne would result in the club moving to Tasmania.

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“Sheds are Sheds. He’s a great ambassador not just for the club but for the game,” he said.

“I think we have a lot to thank Shades for.

But sometimes it shoots from the hip and you wear what comes with it.

Before taking the North Melbourne job last week, Clarkson was an adviser to the Tasmanian taskforce for the 19th AFL team.

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